Fifteen Minutes Of Fiction Writing Gallery

Freedoms Not Free: The choice is yours, security or a chance to soar
Posted by R. Wesley Lovil, Oct 23, 2011. 1041 views. ID = 5076

Freedoms Not Free

Posted by R. Wesley Lovil, Oct 23, 2011. 1041 views. ID = 5076
This post was written in 14 minutes.
There is something to be said about a tether
This post has been awarded 9 stars by 2 readers.

In 1968, Carlos Castaneda wrote 'The Teachings of Don Juan,' where he describes traveling with an American Indian medicine man or shaman of the southwest. All that Carlos wanted was to write his thesis on medicine men, graduate, and get on with his life, yet the more he listened to this man the more uncertain he became of his own life and beliefs. Don Juan by modern standards was a simple, poor indigent who couldn't even drive a car, a man who believed in magical things impossible to be real. His tales of soaring through the air unattached from his physical body or attacking his enemies from miles away were only legends and could not fit in Carlos' world.

The more Castaneda listened to this uneducated man the more his life, based in reality became uncertain to him. His life was similar to a helium balloon tethered to a child's arm, as an educated man he was soaring above but he was limited to what he could believe or experience by the string of knowledge. He felt as if he were trapped between two worlds, he wanted to soar in the clouds as Don Juan taught but to do so would invalidate all he knew to be true. Clinging to that string, he fled the desert and his shaman teacher back to the 'real' world of the university.

Castaneda could not take that next leap; he refused the chance to see a different reality, even though in his heart it was the opportunity of a lifetime. After reading the book, I considered him a coward for taking the safe route instead of adventure. There is a chapter where Don Juan tries to teach Carlos a way of freeing the soul from his body. He talked of imagining a gnat flying in front of your eyes; you concentrate on the insect and nothing else. Just as the gnat flies between the visions of both eyes, your soul grabs it and flies away. Carlos tried it a number of times without success, of course, and the shaman tells him that it's his fear that holds him back. One warm afternoon I fell asleep in my chair and I awoke to a tiny gnat flying in front of my face. Immediately the teachings of Don Juan came to mind and I wondered if I had the ability to soar as the medicine man taught. What if his teachings were true, that my reality was merely a tether, what if... In a moment of sheer cowardice, I smashed the bug between my palms.

Copyright 2011 R. Wesley Lovil. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

You must be logged in to comment on or rate this writing.

Click here to join the Fifteen Minutes Of Fiction Writing Community!

This post has been awarded 9 stars by 2 readers.
This post is part of a writing prompt: Helium Balloon


Oct 24, 2011
Sometimes I am afraid to take the freedom offered to me. I am glad to know I am not the only one!
   ~Posted by MissAnnie, Oct 24, 2011

Search for Great Fiction

Use the google search bar below to find writings exclusively on this site.

Custom Search

News!    Writing Prompt    My Assignment    FAQ    Contact    Privacy Policy    Search     Terms of Use     Login